The Past-Present Confusion In A Marriage

Parataxic Distortion Explained

Parataxic distortion is a distorted attitude or reaction that a person has based on an event from their personal past which skews how they perceive a situation. Generally, these distortions occur because of an experience that occurred in the person’s childhood that negatively impacted the individual. A person’s history can be useful when trying to overcome relational issues in a marriage. You must ensure you are not experiencing parataxic distortion when dealing with issues in your marriage and other important relationships.

How can parataxic distortion affect your relationships?

The following example shows how parataxic distortion can affect your relationship.

Joe was in love with his girlfriend Donna. However, Joe kept thinking that Donna reminded him of his mother. Joe had harsh feelings about his mother because she was overly critical and verbally abusive to him and his sibling. When Joe was 16 years old, he left home and never returned because he refused to be subjected to his negativity and abuse any longer. Years later, Joe worked for an electrical parts distribution company as a manager. He was quite successful and life was good. The financial stability helped him enjoy life and find someone whom he cared deeply about. However, during his relationship with Donna, he often had sudden angry outbursts and experienced depression. Donna did not understand that every time she was assertive, Joe was envisioning her as his mother. Although Donna was never critical, she was in Joe’s mind. He heard her saying things that his mother was saying when he was younger. After a lot of counseling, Joe, admitted that he saw many similarities between his mother and Donna even though he had not seen her since he left home. Although Joe’s mother was still alive and according to his siblings had changed, he had never visited her once he left home.

How can you correct parataxic distortion?

Parataxic distortion is not considered a mental disorder. It is simply a psychological state that with help can be reversed once the issue is recognized. The only way to overcome this disorder is to want to end it once and for all. Some people hold on to parataxic distortion and use it to protect themselves from ever getting hurt again. The main issue with this disorder is that it magnifies the feelings of vulnerability, and when a person feels vulnerable, their mindset shifts from being logical to being raw and emotional. If your marriage is in trouble and you are experiencing conflict, you do not want to increase the turmoil by allowing your emotions to mar the lines of communication in your relationship.

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What are the triggers that cause parataxic distortion?

Certain thoughts and behaviors often trigger parataxic distortion. These triggers can affect different types of relationships. The person experiencing parataxic distortion can project his or her past traumas on whomever the person comes in contact with. To stop these thoughts from occurring, you must determine what triggers these feelings. Here are some of the most common triggers that occur in couples experiencing marriage difficulties.

a. Situations that are stressful.

b. Interactions that are aggressive.

c. Unresolved issues and conflicts in a relationship.

d. Labelling others and using other negative techniques.

e. The inability to manage stress.

f. A dominating or controlling partner.

g. Excess anxiety.

h. Recalling a trauma that occurred in childhood or other types of negative experiences.

i. Rejection from people who are close to you (spouse, children, close friends and family members).

j. A marriage where a person’s needs and desires go unfulfilled.

All of these triggers occur due to some type of unresolved issue in a person’s life. Parataxic distortions happen when a person does not learn to cope with negative things that have happened in their life. This condition can lead to a toxic marriage because it can lead to you becoming angry with your significant other over and over again for innocent things that your partner does. You may react negatively to something that your spouse does in love and assume it is to hurt you rather than to help you. You spouse will not understand why you are reacting this way.

People with this type of distortion should acknowledge that the present is quite different from their past. Additionally, it is important that negative past experiences be remembered subjectively. You should never let past experiences measure how your spouse is treating you if you want to create and maintain a harmonious relationship with your spouse. Instead, you should embrace your significant other and try to see past their flaws and not compare them to others who have negatively impacted your life in the past.

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